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UNSC Is Caught in Deadlock (Opinion)

By The Jakarta Post at 11:19 AM 5/31/2020 (PDT)

As the second day of conference starts, UNSC continues to discuss Topic B, which revolves around Russia and Ukraine’s ongoing territorial tensions. A draft resolution has been introduced, proposing a referendum, trade ties and UN Peacekeeping. But the main concern expressed by delegates is that China could veto it as one of the five permanent members of the UNSC.

The delegate of China already has a massive advantage in this committee, but is absolutely adamant that there are points that cannot be negotiated. Even when Viet Nam’s delegate pointed out that thus far, “there’s no clause in our resolution we've deemed non-negotiable”, China is completely unwilling to compromise on the referendum. He clearly will not rest until he gets his way.

If this were a different committee, China may easily have been overridden at this point; a resolution does not need every nation to sign to pass. However, because China has so much power, there is perhaps fear that the delegate could abuse this power.

These fears are not unwarranted by a long shot. However, there are only two sessions left. The delegation of Estonia proposed to move directly into voting block with fifteen minutes left in the first session. While this motion was ruled dilatory, it did bring to light to urgency of their situation. It was expected by many people that a resolution would be passed quickly, but this clearly has not happened. The dais proposed introducing a new resolution, and delegates from Vietnam and France have created draft resolution 3.0. There were no doubt good reasons to essentially start over, but it is late. The delegate from China listed out his issues with the resolution with ten minutes left in the committee session, calling the referendum a “monumental waste of time”. However, all delegates must realize that not passing a resolution will be an even more “monumental waste of time”.

Even if the only resolution passed is a vague one, that is more progress made than passing none at all. This conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for years. While the delegate of China said that he is not moving the discussion backwards, it is clearly not moving forward. The point of a UN committee is to compromise, and it is clear that when a single delegate will not compromise, especially one with such great power, a resolution is very difficult to reach.

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